It seems to be human nature to focus on the little things that make no difference, while ignoring the vast areas of life that we can make positive changes to.
We stress about being too busy at work, when in reality we could just work a bit smarter or turn up half an hour earlier.
We stress about not sleeping enough, but stare at a screen for hours past our bedtime.
We stress about money, but spend £100 on a night out at a weekend or sign up to a shiny new phone contract we don’t really need.
We stress about our relationships with family and friends, but we still don’t pick up the phone often enough and actually make contact.
With health and fitness, so often we “major in the minors”.
We spend hours obsessing over what protein powder is best, what set/rep scheme is best, what our perfect macro split should be, whether Exercise A is better than Exercise B.
And you know what? That’s all great. If – and here’s the kicker – IF you’re already actually doing something.
All too often we see people worrying about what they should or shouldn’t eat to lose weight.
Whether by cutting something out, or adding something in, the weight will come off quicker. The same people, when asked, will often have no clue how much they ate yesterday, or last week, or the week before.
They’re focusing on a tiny area, while entirely missing the big picture – namely, what am I *already* doing. You can’t change what you don’t measure.
The fitness industry doesn’t help. And it’s not unintentional killing with kindness either. It’s malicious, it’s cynical and it’s unethical.
DNA and food intolerance testing when the practitioners KNOW full well the science is not strong enough to back it up.
Fitness superstars injecting more performance enhancers than Arnie then claiming it “woz all the BCAAs wot done it, honest guv”.
Girls in bikinis living off Daddy’s money (or worse – there’s a large section of Instagram fitness models that travel the world off the back of selling more than just slimming teas…) telling you to love your body whatever size you are, while secretly being borderline anorexic or bulimic.
But we buy into it. And they know it. And by it’s very nature, it HAS to focus on the miniscule, on the unimportant, and on the pointless.
Because “track your intake, eat a varied diet, drop a 100 or so calories until you lose weight at a sustainable rate, get to the gym three times a week and try and walk a bit more” isn’t a sexy sell.
Who cares that it works. Who cares that within that deceptively simple solution there’s a whole bunch of minor things you really can, and should, get your teeth into – it’s just not sexy.
The slimming teas, the IG model with a 12-pack or the girl with the huge (genetically lucky) arse selling you a new protein powder, the roided up div selling you a T-shirt to make you feel part of a we’re-better-than-you-gang – that’s all way more fun than the alternative.
Because that alternative is: taking responsibility.
It’s starting to recognise your own daft behaviour. Deep down you know full well that being 5 stone overweight, you’re probably not in prime health.
You also, deep down, know that drinking a few cups of laxative tea isn’t quite going to cut it (and yes, all those slimming teas? Various “natural” laxatives. Literally poo yourself thin).
Same with training.
I see people obsess about whether a particular style of squat, or a particular type of back exercise, are better than another. The same people often miss an entire week, or month, of training. You know what works better than the “perfect” exercise? Actually DOING something.
Again, it’s worrying about one minor factor while not addressing the major problem – lack of consistency or effort.
Your Insta hero does X workout does he/she? For a start, probably not. Hardly anyone ever sticks to the letter of a programme. Most people freestyle at some point. Chances are, especially if the programme has a name (and hasn’t been around for donkey’s years), it’s rehashed and it’s being sold to you.
It might still work – but don’t believe they’re doing what they say they are.
Don’t believe they’re all doing it clean either. Drugs are rife in fitness, and Instagram is the snake pit that shows it all off. There’s 100% some good people there too, but I’ve lost count of the number of people that have been “all natural”, then come out as using or failed a drugs test. I’ve also lost count of the number of girls dishing out crappy diet advice, then admitting a couple of years later to “struggling with an eating disorder”.
This shit does REAL, lasting damage to impressionable people. Don’t put up with it.
The upshot is to focus on what matters. You can’t get to a destination without travelling the distance. Shortcuts don’t exist. There is no magic 1% being held back from you that will suddenly make it all happen overnight.
Spending 90% of your effort on things that will get you single-digit percentage improvements is just daft.
Turn up, work hard, get the basics right and ignore the noise. It’s designed to throw you off track and keep you spending money. Don’t fall for it.
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